Free Speech & Censorship
Under present U.S. Code and State laws, obscenity is not protected under First Amendment rights to free speech, and violations of federal obscenity laws are criminal offenses. The U.S. courts use a three-pronged test, commonly referred to as the Miller test, to determine if material is obscene. Obscenity is defined as fitting the three Miller criteria of prurient interest, patently sexually offensive, and lacking redeeming social value. Obscene materials are depraved by contemporary adult community standards, and may include visual depictions, spoken words, or written text transmitted via any medium. All forms of distribution and of receiving obscene materials are unlawful. We support enforcement of these duly enacted laws.
However, any prior censorship or restraint on our right to free expression needs to be approached with profound care. We must exercise prudence in such matters because the power to censor can easily fall into irrational, arbitrary or dictatorial hands and cause great harm. Truth is currently suffering the mob’s so-called “cancel culture” incited and enforced by Big Tech, the legacy media, the entertainment industry, black robed tyrants of our Courts and other powerful elite factions. Debate, discourse and reasonable disputation vital to a healthy America are being stifled, while conformity of expression and obedience to destructive policy is being compelled. Our country is both safer and freer when no one wields such power.
We are inclined, therefore, to hold that people should be equally free to say and do all kinds of things that others don’t like, so long as their free expression is not violent or physically harmful to others, and it respects the rights of property and public safety. This includes our First Amendment guarantees to the right of free, peaceable assembly and petition to government authority for the redress of grievances. With such great latitude, as a society, through our representative government, we nevertheless have an obligation to articulate and uphold standards of public decency.
Religion & School Prayer
The “separation of church and state” doctrine is a baneful misinterpretation of the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibition of established religion aims at forbidding all government-sponsored coercion of religious conscience. It does not forbid all religious influence upon politics or society.
The free exercise of religion means nothing if, in connection with the ordinary events and circumstances of life, and in their vocation as citizens of a free republic, individuals are forbidden to act upon their religious faith.
We will do everything in our power, through rigorous public debate, discourse and persuasion, and through citizen action, to turn the tide against unconstitutional suppression of our rights of conscience, assembly, speech and public worship—and against all judicial policy rulings and policy initiatives that undermine religious freedom. This includes working to restore our right to have our children pray in school for God’s continued grace and mercy over our troubled nation.
Right to Bear Arms
We strongly support the 2nd Amendment.
The right to keep and bear arms was included in the Bill of Rights so that when, by a long train of abuses, government evinces a methodical design upon our natural rights, we will have the means to protect and recover those rights.
In fact, if we make the judgment that our rights are being systematically violated, we have not merely the right, but the duty, to resist and overthrow the power responsible. That duty requires that we maintain the material capacity to resist tyranny, if necessary—something that is very difficult to do if the government has all the weapons. A strong case can be made, therefore, that it is a fundamental DUTY of the free citizen to keep and bear arms.
The gun control agenda is based on the view that ordinary citizens cannot be trusted to use the physical power of arms responsibly. But a people that cannot be trusted with guns cannot be trusted with the much more dangerous powers of self-government. The gun control agenda is thus an implicit denial of the human capacity for responsible self-government and is tyrannical in principle. It must be resisted root and branch by citizens committed to maintaining our republic.
The idea of the “pursuit of happiness” in our great Declaration presupposes the right of property, a right our Founders understood was inseparable from all other unalienable rights. Without the right to pursue our individual version of the American Dream—independent of unjust interference from government or other power—there can be no right to life or liberty. The individual pursuit of sustaining wealth and the control of that wealth is central to a free, open, and healthy society.
The right of property has long been threatened not only by unsound schemes of taxation, but by intrusions into the personal control of private property. The result has been a pervasive loss of opportunity in the marketplace for the common man and a disruption of normal principles of supply and demand, those necessary to competition and to the creation of fair prices for such things as housing, undeveloped property, and a broad range of goods and services. Today, disruption of the right of property is threatened additionally by extreme environmentalism that places greater importance on the so-called “rights” of animals, trees, and streams than on the legitimate and essential needs of mankind. These are extreme notions that increasingly strip human beings of normal and reasonable economic opportunity. We support responsible human stewardship of God’s creation, but we also whole-heartedly seek to include in that stewardship conscientious and vigilant respect for the fundamental human right of property.
We should not countenance the notion, whatever form it takes, that it is the business of the government to provide health care for all the American people. In the Clinton era of stealth socialism, the favored camel’s nose were proposals to provide comprehensive government health care for America’s “children.” This was a classic stalking horse argument used to disguise the left’s ultimate goal of health socialism, starting with children, then old people, and on to the rest of us. The groundwork laid by Hillary Clinton’s attempted federal health care grab was unfortunately successfully built upon by Obama with successful passage of the much more intrusive ACA legislation. In all its guises, the root principle of a government guarantee of health care is that we are not a self-governing people but must have the necessities of our lives provided by the government. If we accept this principle, there is no natural limit to the corrosive solicitude of government.
Our vision does not include a federally-funded health program. But to move federal health policy away from the agenda of incremental socialism and back toward a policy based on confidence in the capacity of free citizens to order their own affairs, we must choose particular policies compatible and consistent with that goal. For those already dependent on federal money to meet their health needs, a shift to health insurance vouchers would be consistent with this principle as an interim step toward federal disengagement from the provision of health care.
By way of public policy, the relations between providers and consumers of health care in the private market should be governed by the process of choice and competition that already produces the best health care in the world. Citizens generally have the right to sue those they enter into contracts with, unless they enter into agreements to resolve disputes in other ways. The government should not paternalistically “protect” us from entering into such relationships with our health care providers or anyone else.
Our priority is to see removed the obstacles and distortions that an overly bureaucratized and politicized federal “research” agenda inevitably causes for market-driven innovative research and practical development. We would make it a high priority to remember that the government of the United States should not have “medical research priorities.” Rather, the government should have the single priority of fulfilling its Constitutional role, so that the American regime of ordered liberty can flourish. Medical research, and the rest of the important activities of this free people, will thrive accordingly.
Restoring Liberty Projects
- Foundations of Liberty Live Stream, Sunday afternoon July19, 2020
- In Good Conscience: Essays on Faith and America’s Liberty